Fwix Rebrands as Radius, Builds Intelligence Product for Local Sales

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Fwix, the hyperlocal information play that evolved from content aggregator to place database, is rebranding as a business intelligence product called Radius. The new incarnation of the company will provide contextual data and a lead generation tool for sales forces looking to sell to small and medium-sized businesses by leveraging the place identification technology and local dataset which Fwix developed over the past three years.

The platform indexes data about local businesses from across the web and builds metrics on everything from social media activity to recent daily deals run to editorial mentions. Users can either pull up information on a particular business or search for new leads by selecting specific criteria (e.g. businesses which have run a deal within the past month and also manage a Foursquare page.)

“We’ve built a technology over the past couple of years that can crawl the web for information about very small businesses and locations,” Radius CEO Darian Shirazi told Street Fight about building the new product. “We turned this data into a product for businesses which sell to small businesses,” a market that Shirazi says includes over ten million local salespeople.

The company, which closed a $4 mm series B round a year ago, began rethinking its model in mid-2011 and has run the Radius product in a closed trial with a few daily deal and local media companies since February of 2012. Shirazi said the idea for Radius largely came out of customer demand, after a few of Fwix’s larger clients started to inquire about structuring Fwix’s data in a way that could be used in its sales operations.

“We’ve really focused on prioritization, lead generation, and intelligence as the big drivers [in building Radius,] and the intelligence piece has turned out to be one of the most important components,” said Shirazi. “The people who make decisions on the other end of a sales call typical do not want to listen to a pitch unless they have a meaningful statistic or piece of data, or anything substantive to say about their business.”

One of the big concerns for companies that build on data from user-generated environments, like Foursquare or Yelp, is the step drop off in data density that one sees outside of major metros. Shirazi says the company’s ability to draw from existing government data like health reports and licenses as well as editorial content from local blogs has been critical in extending coverage beyond the more tech-focused urban areas.

Fwix’s pivot to Radius comes as more and more companies are emerging with products that build on top of the existing local information layer. As companies like Foursquare mature and the signal-creation game consolidates, the curation and aggregation of structured and, more importantly, unstructured local data may prove to be one of the best opportunities in the hyperlocal space.

Shirazi said that as the market develops, the company would focus on generating insights into the sentiment and attitude around small businesses by running deeper analytics on free form content from local and hyperlocal media sources. Pulling in metadata like tweets and reviews only cuts skin deep and is highly replicable, but identifying and analyzing reputation and sentiment could provide Fwix with needed differentiation as new ventures look to copy its model.

Steven Jacobs is an associate editor at Street Fight.

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